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How to play Pokemon on PC

Playing Pokemon from almost any device has never been easier (Image via EmulatorGames)
Playing Pokemon from almost any device has never been easier (Image via EmulatorGames)

Whether a player wants to complete every Pokemon game Pokedex or relive their childhood with games they’ve lost, playing Pokemon from almost any device has never been this easy!

The Nintendo Switch made history when it brought the main series games of the Pokemon franchise to the television screen. Sometimes, players may want to game on different types of devices.

Maybe someone has their lunch break during work and wants to play a quick game of Pokemon from whatever computer available. Or say they’re on a trip and forget their gaming device but have a computer and an internet connection.

There are ways to get Pokemon everywhere, all the time!

Playing Pokemon on PC


Background knowledge

Emulators are commonly used to play video games on computers (Image via Game Freak)
Emulators are commonly used to play video games on computers (Image via Game Freak)

To play Pokemon games, or any title on a computer, players will need emulators.

An emulator is a program that lets them run the software used on another device, on a regular computer. There are different types of emulators for various systems.

Emulators are most commonly used to play video games on computers or run a different computer operating system on a non-compatible system. After installing the emulator, players will need to find the ROM of the game(s) they want to play.

A ROM is essentially a digital copy of a game loaded onto the cartridges and discs consumers buy. To play a ROM, the user must have a compatible emulator installed.


Playing Pokemon online

Online gaming is a favorite amongst players (Image via Game Freak)

This is probably one of the most popular ways to play Pokemon on PC. When choosing to play games online, players don’t need to download an emulator, ROMs, or anything on their computers.

This is great for people who want to play on borrowed computers or don’t have space on their computers to run a game locally. This method is also best for people who have devices such as Google Chromebooks, where there is not a lot of native software development.

The simplest method on this list, playing online, does sometimes have drawbacks. Players who play online receive low framerates depending on their internet connection.

This method is a favorite amongst players because not only is it free, but it gives players the option to play a variety of games made for a variety of consoles, from Nintendo DS to the Nintendo 64.

All a player needs to do to play Pokemon games online is to follow this link and then search “Pokemon” in the top right-hand corner search bar. Once they reach the search results page, all they have to do is click on the Pokemon game they want, and it will take them to the next page.

On this page, all that users need to do is click “Play Game Online,” and a small black window will expand below on the same page. In this box, there will be a blue button that says “Run Game,” and they can click that. Once the game file gets downloaded to the online emulator (this may take a while), it will be playable.

After that, players are recommended to click the small controller icon on the bottom left-hand corner of the game window and customize their controls to what works best for them.


Playing Pokemon locally on the PC

(Image via Game Freak)

If players want to play the Pokemon games on their computer locally, rather than the simplicity of playing online, there are a few more steps that need to occur before gameplay can begin.

This method begins with picking the right emulator. Unlike playing online, all the Pokemon franchise games cannot be played on one seamless software. Whether it was a Gameboy Advance or Nintendo DS game, the game release platform determines what kind of emulator players will need.

If they are looking to play a Nintendo DS Pokemon game, then DesmuMe would be recommended. It is currently the best and highest rated Nintendo DS emulator for PC. It also plays all Nintendo DS games from 2006-2017. DesmuMe is available for download on Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers and is available for download here.

If players are looking to play Nintendo Gameboy Advance Pokemon games, then VisualBoyAdvance or VBA-M is recommended. VisualBoyAdvance has been out for years and has seen many open source updates to keep it going steady. Players can download it here by clicking on the very bottom link, ““VBA-M 2.1.4””.

If gamers are looking to play a Nintendo Switch Pokemon game, they can go for the yuzu emulator. It is currently the most stable Nintendo Switch emulator in existence. Yuzu is also open source, so it is continuously updated. Users can download the yuzu emulator from here.

Once the emulator of choice is downloaded, players can find the download and run the .EXE file. They must follow the onscreen install instructions for the emulator chosen, and once the installation is finished, run the program to open the emulator.

After the emulator gets installed and the ROM is downloaded, players just have to load the ROM into the emulator, and they’re ready to “catch em’ all!”

Edited by Ravi Iyer
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